Question:

Since I have been baptized, I have really been trying to stay involved with church, tithing, and do all the things required of a believer. I have reached out to people and I think for the most part stayed away from sin. My struggles are probably the same for others but different, of course. I think though I am missing the boat with spending time with God one-on-one. I seem to be caught up in doing doing doing and almost spending no time in prayer. I am really struggling with the fact that my wife is not in any way interested in this new life and, in fact, recently admitted that she is angry that she was never involved with the decision I made. Reason is, though, that I am so involved with the church she feels we are going in two different directions. I am having a very hard time gettingclose to someone thatdoesn't believe. What are some things that you do to keep the personal relationship strong? How have you dealt with loved ones that are lost and do you hurt inside daily with their destiny?


Answer:

It is easy for men to focus on something to the exclusion of everything else. But as you realize, everything else can't be excluded. God comes first in a Christian's life far beyond any family relationship. "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:26). We realize that Jesus is speaking in hyperbole -- he is making a point by stretching it to the extreme. Obviously Christians can't "hate" their parents while at the same time giving them honor (Ephesians 6:2). A Christian husband is commanded to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25). And we know that a Christian is not to hate his body (Ephesians 5:29). But this is not a conflict in Scripture. The point Jesus is making is that the difference between loving God and loving, say, our wife is so vast that there is no contest between the two -- God always comes first.

And because God comes first in my life, doing His will is important to me. So because He commands that I honor my parents, I do so with joy. Because He commands that I love my wife, I do so without regret. Because He commands that I love my children, I do so with all my effort. And I can manage all of this because know my priorities.

Prayer is absolutely vital to a Christian's life. It is a chance for us to bring our problems to God and an opportunity to thank Him for the aid He has given us. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer doesn't always have to be long. Look at some of the Jesus prayers recorded in the Gospels and see the many of them are very short -- sometimes only a sentence or two. Others, especially at critical points in Jesus' life are long, and there are times the Gospels tell us that Jesus spent a whole night praying. But he didn't do this every night.

So when a person comes to you asking for your prayers, spend a moment right then and there bringing your request to God. Then you won't forget. When something is particularly bothering you, take some time to pour out your heart to the Lord. When something wonderful happens in your life, take a moment to tell the Lord, "Thank you," and not just those around you. In other words, make prayer a part of your daily life. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).

In regards to your wife, it appears she is saying she feels neglected -- something a good husband should not do. Make sure you spend time with her. As much as she allows, involve her in your life as a Christian. For instance, she might not be willing to attend services with you, but you might hear that someone is ill. Go to your wife, tell her about the situation, and then ask if she would come with you to bring them a meal or to sit for a half-hour with an elderly woman to let her know others care. She might not be interested in Bible studies, but there are numerous opportunities when you can discuss moral principles or an idea that you learned that day with her. Don't make it me against you. It's inviting her to share your discoveries. There are going to be times she mentions being annoyed at her boss or that the kids are causing some difficulty. You can use what you learned to suggest a way to handle the problem and you might get to mention as a side comment, it was something I read in Proverbs.

Though it talks to the wives, it applies to husbands as well, "even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear" (I Peter 3:1-2). Let your wife see and realize that because you became a Christian she has gotten a better husband and a better father for her children as a result.